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Fire at veteran care facility kills one, displaces more

Published: Nov. 27, 2021 at 10:24 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 27, 2021 at 9:57 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - One person is dead and several others were displaced after a fire at a veteran care home on Moolah Drive, according to officials.

Columbia-Richland Fire Department officials say they responded to the call around 9 p.m. Friday. When their units arrived, they say the home was “engulfed” in flames. Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins says the home was already 70% to 75% burned.

Officials: 1 dead, several displaced in fire at veteran care facility
Officials: 1 dead, several displaced in fire at veteran care facility(Madeline Stewart, WIS)

Neighbor Lamont Roberts has lived in the neighborhood since 2005. He says he was startled by a loud noise that he thought came from outside.

“I looked out my door and over here, it was just engulfed in flames… It hit me kind of hard because, like I said, the first thing I thought was, ‘Did all the guys get out?’” said Roberts.

Crews were eventually able to get the fire under control before conducting a search of the home.

“What makes it frustrating is there was so much fire, you really couldn’t get in to try to do a search and try to find the person. However, once we got the fire knocked down, we did discover one person on the inside,” said Chief Jenkins.

Richland County Coroner Naida Rutherford confirms one person was found dead inside the home.

Officials: 1 dead, several displaced in fire at veteran care facility
Officials: 1 dead, several displaced in fire at veteran care facility(Madeline Stewart, WIS)

The Richland County Coroner’s Office was on the scene and EMS was on standby to give medical attention to the survivors, according to Chief Jenkins.

No other injuries were reported.

According to fire officials, five to seven residents were displaced.

“It’s a tragedy to lose one, but we’re thankful we didn’t lose 6 or 7 more because this could have been a different situation,” said Chief Jenkins.

Chief Jenkins believes all displaced residents have been moved to another facility.

The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Richland County Fire Marshal’s Office.

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